A Letter of Promises To My Grandchildren

Grammy & Caleb

Dear Ones,

Someday you will read this and understand why Grammy was the way she was.  I can see it in your eyes today that you don’t understand.  You desire for Grammy to be all fun and games and always giving in to your every whim.  You see even as tiny babies I didn’t give in to you.  I love you too much for that.  It is my desire that some day you will be such bright and shining stars reflecting the love of the Savior that you are a wonderful addition to His kingdom and bring many with you.

I promise you that I do love you…more than life.  My tears have often been prayed to my Savior for your salvation and for your obedient lives to Him.  I promise that when you refuse to take a nap, I’ll make you…because you need one whether you know it or not.  I promise that when you abuse your mama and daddy that I will reprimand you.  You are not God and the fact that they don’t give in to your worship is your first step to realizing that and that you need a Savior much bigger and more able to meet your needs than you ever will be.  I promise that when you disobey me I will be swift and final with your rebuke.  You must learn to obey the authorities in your life.  This is why our world is in the state it is in today.  Even grown ups must learn to obey someone…and many don’t…and we all suffer.

So, yes, I do love you…and we will have tickle fights.  I will read you books because TV will suck your brain cells out of your head and especially what they have on today for children’s shows.  Will we watch movies together?  Yes.  But be prepared for lessons along the way of the truth and untruth of what you are watching.  I will not allow you to believe lies as much as it is in my ability to keep you from them.  I will play good music for you…about Jesus…from the Great Composers…worship music…fun music…because to love music is a wonderful part of life.

Right now…Grammy is the bad guy most of the time.  That’s okay.  It’s because I love you too much to allow you to stay babies and not grow or mature or call out the best in you.  You have abilities far beyond who you now desire to be…and I will call out your best qualities.  You will get tired of hearing me say the same things over and over because you didn’t listen the first time.  I will not nag…I will teach and train and teach and train.  Come to think of it that’s why your mama or papa are who they are today.  I spent endless hours training and they have become wonderful people who love Jesus.  Learn to listen…you’ll be listening the rest of your lives.  Learn to be kind and think of others before yourself.  Learn to tell yourself “no” so others don’t have to.  Learn to distinguish between good, better and best…and choose the best.

I love you little ones…and even when it seems like Grammy’s the big meany…know my heart.

Gram

Fitting In

It seems my whole life I’ve been trying to “fit in.”  As a child I was the youngest in the class beginning Kindergarten when I was four…a whole three months before I would turn five.  I thrived in school; except socially.  I think I’ve been stunted in that area the rest of my life.  I was shy around boys forever it seems.  Now, I prefer talking with men.  Let me rephrase that.  I usually prefer to talk to men. I don’t feel the judgment or the attitudes that sometimes us women throw around at one another.  From time to time I sense being “set aside” by the male company like my opinions don’t matter, but unfortunately, I find that most in church settings amongst male leadership.

Tonight at my Counseling training class we broke up into groups…teams of four we will be with for many months and years ahead.  We had to share about how we came to Christ.  That was easy.  He’s done so much for me and has been my all for so many years.  Our team of four was only three tonight and the other two women have had very different lives from mine.  I could tell they clicked with one another.  I trust that my counseling pastor and Holy Spirit know who I need to be in a group with so I’m tentatively hopeful that at some point God will show me my part of fitting in.  I can see areas I’ve struggled in that I could help them with…but they are fellow counselors…not Life Care Recipients.  They haven’t come to me for wisdom or help…just friendship.  That’s the part I find difficult.  All of my friends over the years have fallen away.  My best friends from high school gave me up a short two years after graduation.  My best friends from college it took a bit longer…but other than facebook stalking me…they don’t really have any input in my life and haven’t been there for me for many, many years.  One of the statements made tonight came in the form of a question and answer.  “How do you know who your real friends are?”  “They are the ones when you are hurting who stand at your door and knock.”  I looked sadly at my husband and said, “Wow…that doesn’t bode well for us, does it?”

I wonder sometimes if it’s me since so many have left me over the years.  I mean, I see women laughing and chatting together in stores and restaurants all the time.  But I’m incapable of empathizing and small talk that other women enjoy so much.  I’m pretty serious.  I love a good joke and chuckle a lot to myself.  Maybe I’m insane. :D  But life is so short I have a hard time not being real with people and most women don’t like that I guess.  I’ve mentioned before that I take a lot before I say anything…but there comes a point when someone is bellyaching or constantly harping or gossiping that I have to say…enough….and that’s when it comes.

I wonder if the same will be true of these women…my team.  Will they come to love me?  Will we come to love each other and our differences and gifts we bring to the table?  Will I ever fit in?  Am I really made for this counseling thing?  I am a truth sayer.  I must trust that God knows that and is able to bring just the right people my way who need my gifts.  I was once kicked out of youth group leaders (as the youth pastor’s wife) because other leaders didn’t want me in there … my friends….my peers.  I cried so hard that day and went to the pier to contemplate whether life was worth living if I couldn’t minister where my heart was.  I learned another hard lesson…in that death of my dream and vision…that God’s journey for me …if I submit…is much easier to bear and worth far more than my dream…but if I fight it….He will still take me down that road…with me kicking and clawing all the way…but with no peace for me.  If I desire peach…I must trust…and I must listen well to His voice…and submit to His plan…whether or not I fit in…ever.

“Human tragedies:  We all want to be extraordinary and we all just want to fit in.  Unfortunately, extraordinary people rarely fit in.” Sebastyne Young 

haha  You read things like that and it gives a reason…so I must be extraordinary because I don’t fit in…oh my….I wish it were true…I think it is more that God knows if I were to fit in…I could not give Him glory quite as well.  I must trust that He knew that when He made me.  I am extraordinary to Him and that’s all that matters.

John 14:14-16 “You are My friends if you do what I command you. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.…”

The Robot

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I got called a robot yesterday…told I was not humane.  You see, I’m a pretty black and white person…if you give me directions or a guideline I work within that guideline.  I don’t believe you give in to people because they yell loudly…in fact, if they yell loudly then I believe you should never give in to them.  You will get much more from me with a sweet respectful demeanor than you will from pushing yourself around and acting like you are nine.

I don’t know why this guy got me so upset yesterday.  Like everyone, I like to be liked, but really in all actuality I couldn’t care less if this guy liked me.  I did feel like I let my bosses down since they were the ones who overturned my decision and threw me under the bus so to speak…but in all actuality I’m not really working for them either.  I work for Jesus.  He has asked me at this point in my life to serve Him by working at Texwipe and so I do…I don’t like it.  I would much rather be at home, cooking, sewing, crocheting, learning more about God and His Word, volunteering in my church, making my grandkids things…but He’s asked me to be the major breadwinner right now and my husband has worked so hard for so many years doing that…I need to do what I can at this stage in my life to help out.  I find I have to work on my attitude every day…I talk myself through the day…”you can do this”…”one step at a time” …. “it’s only for a season.”  You know the drill.  “You can do anything for a season…as long as you know there will be an end someday.”  My husband has told my kids that for years…while they were in college…complaining…you can do it…it’s not forever.

I think it’s the meanness of humanity that gets me.  I’ve been pretty sheltered over the years.  I’ve seen meanness…all you have to do is read my other blogs and you know that…but I never understand it.  My mom taught me that if I couldn’t say anything nice to not say anything at all. I’m quiet a lot!  As a matter of fact I put up with things for a very long time…others tell me too long…but when I do try to straighten things out…that’s when I get in trouble.  “Hurting people hurt people” only goes so far.  Can I pray for this guy?  Yes…but my first reaction is to just hunker down and work hard and keep my head down.  I keep wondering what I say to him the next time he calls or writes…”Sorry, bud, I’m too much of a robot…guess you’ll have to call someone else who has a brain.”  Maybe I should sing the scarecrow song from the wizard of oz…”If I only had a brain…” lol  I do, though.  I have a brain…and that’s why I didn’t give in to this man.  He pushes and shoves and thinks he deserves special treatment…and I’m too much of a mom to let him get away with that.  I want to slap his hand and say, “Now, sweetie, go to your room and think about how badly you’ve behaved today….and don’t come out until you can play nice.”  Why is it that there are men and women who act like they are nine and never seem to grow up and become adults?  Why are there people who never mature enough to think of someone besides themselves?  I am well aware of the sinful depravity of man…and I shouldn’t be surprised by it in this world….that’s why God had to send Jesus into this world…I guess I just don’t want to be reminded.

I’m tired of the mentality that “You always do this except…”  Why can’t life be more of “You always do this.”  I’m not beyond the exceptions; but when you tell me one thing…don’t go back on it.  When you say we’re a team then act like a team.  When you say we always do things this way then ALWAYS do things that way…don’t make exceptions for the loudest brat out there…don’t make exceptions because someone is pushing their way around…and then not make an exception for the nice guy.  You’ve just created your monster.  So I guess he’s right in a way…I’m a robot.  I’m robotic in my ability or inability to work with difficult people.  He’s the EGR customer…”Extra Grace Required”…you’d think I’d be an expert at dealing with those people after so many years in churches…but I’m not.  I’m the compliant child…the one who does right because she doesn’t want to make waves….  I’ve never understood the rebellious child.  I still don’t understand the rebellious adult…the one who is told something at work and decides not to do it or to do it in spite of what they are told.  I don’t go there…if someone tells me to initial every time I do something, I feel guilt if I forget. lol  If I get in trouble for doing what I was told, it sends me in a tailspin…I’m not one for language…but in this case…if you are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” then what’s the point?

I’m not sure this “soapbox” episode has really sharpened my point this morning as I get ready for work.  I dread it.  It’s a good part of my life right now…so to dread a good part of your life…is that all there is to look forward to?  Uh oh…we’re getting back to the Ecclesiastes post. lol  I guess this is just a reminder that we are broken people in a broken world.  I don’t like it.  I don’t have to like it.  But I have to live in it….I just wish I could get beyond just “living” and “thrive” in it.

“Great wickedness…only evil…no one who understands…worthless…open graves…deceit…poison…cursing and bitterness…swift to shed blood…ruin and misery….no fear of God…subjected to frustration…bondage to decay…groaning…struggle…this dark world…evil.  Perhaps you are so familiar with these verses that it is difficult to see their unflinching realism.  But each of these passages is honest about what you and I will encounter as we live in a world that is not operating as it was designed to operate.”  Broken Down House – Paul David Tripp

Meaningless

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The wisest man in the world (other than Jesus) once said, “Meaningless.  Meaningless.  Everything is meaningless.”  I think I know which time of life he was in.  If anyone had told me when I was 20 something or 30 something or even 40 something that in my 50’s I would be trying to wrap my head around so many things…I would have laughed.  I knew at the time that I didn’t know everything; but I certainly felt I at least was going in a direction…the right direction.  I’m not really sure of that anymore.  The only way I can describe this period in my life is like another adolescence.  I remember feeling pretty lost then…I lost my dad at 16 and to lose one’s security and stability at that age really sets your world in a tailspin.  

A year and half ago I moved for the 23rd time since I was married, but this time it wasn’t for ministry or finances…more to find a job and be closer to two of my six children.  I have to say that this Ecclesiastes experience started before our move to NC…so it’s not the move’s fault…just a puzzle piece in the mix of emotions.  

In our last church I had more “close friends” than I thought I had had at any other time in my life. Now I sit wondering if everything is meaningless and to be honest am coming to the conclusion that it is. I had two REALLY close friends in VT….kind of my James and John…maybe I was Peter. I don’t hear from either one anymore.  I guess if I were to write first again I might hear from John…but James gave up on me before I even left.  I had others…my Thomas who begged me not to go and said things like, “Do you really have to go?”  There was no job…no ministry to speak of anymore…so yes, we had to come here.  I’ve never heard from her again…I’ve texted, sent messages and nothing.  Another lady is sick…I keep giving her that out..but again I’ve texted and wrote…but nothing in return.  A pastor’s wife who wrote for many months..we used to meet to pray as fellow servants and wanderers…is now gone, too.  

My daughter tells me, “Why don’t you do things with your friends?”  How do you say, “I have no friends, sweetie.??  You are the only one who ever wants to do something with me from time to time and when you do I drop everything to come to you.’  You don’t.  Because your children really can’t handle their mom being so needy.  They can’t handle being needed so much…it is a terrible burden.  

So I go on …trying to wrap my head and my heart around this life.  I pray, “Is this all there is and ever will be for the rest of our lives, Lord?”  There is silence.  I can hear Him weeping with me…He has the answers and knows the pain of having no friends when it comes down to the wire…hanging on a cross.  This is my cross.  It makes me yearn for Heaven.  If we are so quickly forgotten anyway then why do what we do?  Why pour yourself into someone who is going to so quickly not care if you are even on this earth?  Because I’m not God or even a god to decide when I leave.  I stick around for the hope that someday there may be someone who decides they would like to have me for a friend.  Maybe someone will ask me to meet them for a cup of coffee or to come when they need a friend.  I think I’ve always waited on the side of life for the next need to fill.  I thrive in being needed…but I wish I was wanted….maybe that’s at the source or root of all this meaninglessness.  I’m here to meet other’s needs…not their desire to have a friend and be close.  

I miss my friends.  I know some of them probably think of me from time to time…I did have a lady message me the other day that she misses my wisdom and encouragement…I had to laugh at the wisdom part…but I know she meant how I would always point her back to Jesus and to His Word…she misses His wisdom.  I’m thankful.  I did have one of my youth group girls from 30 years ago (she’s now a grandma!) thank me for all I did to encourage her all those years ago.  It reminds me of how ten lepers were healed and one returned to thank Jesus.  

We went to the Billy Graham Museum a couple of weeks ago.  As we were talking with the host at the desk he asked what we did.  My husband told him we had been in ministry for many years and he now was an AFLAC salesman.  The man said something simple like “Thank you for your service to the Lord.”  It brought instantaneous tears to my eyes.  And I was a basketcase in my soul.  How could this one man who didn’t know us give us more honor in one moment than the hundreds who we’ve poured our lives into?  

I have a daughter who’s been trying to tell me that ministry is where we are and that “full time” ministry isn’t any better or more glorious or more holy than sweeping floors or being a customer service representative for a cleanroom wiper company.  In my head I can agree to that to a certain extent…but my heart cries for ministry…it cries for meaning, it cries for relationship, it cries for community.

Ever since I was young I was drawn to full time Christian work.  I never doubted it.  I don’t doubt it now…but I sit wondering if we will ever be there again.  Allen is tired.  He’s broken and doesn’t have the desire I have.  Or doesn’t seem to.  He hates his job a good deal of the time…but not enough to send our resume’s or go back into ministry or leave our children we hardly see even though we are five minutes away from them.  I don’t see the point.  From this side the tapestry is pretty messy…it’s full of very dark colors…it is hanging with threads that haven’t been tied back and made neat…there is no picture…it is all meaningless.